My 79-year-old mother lives by herself and is paranoid schizophrenic. What can I do in this situation?


She's extremely reclusive and is living alone with no phone. I'm very worried about her, but due to privacy laws if she doesn't want anybody knowing her situation on a welfare check, then all they can do is to say "She's okay". As my mother is frail, her condition is terrible, she's missing teeth and appears to be 90 not nearly eighty. Because of her behavioral situation, she is not at all reasonable. She has had several welfare checks, but nothing has been done and I believe on top of all this that she is losing function, she's completely vulnerable. Monday I have an appointment with an attorney to discuss guardianship. I am very deeply concerned about my mother, she has essentially lost her social supports, her health and her mind. I want her to be able to have three meals a day and a warm and safe environment to be in. Any ideas would be very welcome, this entire situation is just tremendously distressing. Thank you!

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If Mom is on Welfare there is no money for an AL and they may not take her anyway. ALs are not usually set up to take care of Mentally I'll patients. With Moms income it would need to be long-term nursing able to care for her. At least you know that she gets 3 meals a day, clean and gets her meds.
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So, if you are appointed guardian, how will you get her cared for? Will you put her in a nursing home?

Just because you have guardianship is not going to make her more reasonable. It will, however, allow you to force her into care, IF (and this is a big if) you can find a facility willing to accept an unwilling client.

Most likely, she would need a full time psychiatric facility. Do you have any of those near you?

Years ago, we had an elderly neighbor with a son who developed schizophrenia as an adolescent. The "boy" lived at home and when his dad died, there was NO WAY for anyone (neighbors, family) for force care. As the house became overrun with vermin, the Dept of Health was called; the son was taken away, we never found out where to, in a nightshirt, waist length matted hair and curled around his feet toe nails. It's a sight I'll never forget.
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Obtaining Guardianship may be the only way to reasonably control the situation.
I am not usually a fan of Guardianship because it can be expensive, time consuming and a bit "nit picky" but if it is the only way to keep her safe it is your only option.
She may resist but hopefully the lawyer will see that this is a situation where she is in need of help. The problem might be if she is completely coherent, in control she may seem as though she does not need a Guardian.
By the way if there is no real money (as in estate) involved it might be easier as you will be Guardian of the Person not Guardian of the Estate and the Person. As Guardian of the Estate you must detail every purchase, save receipts and if you use your money to make a purchase you must get approval before reimbursing yourself.
If you are Guardian of the Person you can just file papers once a year detailing what their status is.
(Not sure how much money there has to be or what value property has to be before Guardianship of the person becomes Guardianship of the Estate)
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I'm curious as to why your mom doesn't have a phone? If you could call her you could get a better idea of how she's doing to a certain extent.

Have you considered assisted living for your mom? She'd be in a safe environment, she would be around other people, she could get help right away if she needed it.

Schizophrenia is a horrible disease and the treatment is almost as bad as the illness itself with meds that further alter the person's personality. I'm so sorry your mom has suffer with this and that you have to watch her suffer with this. My heart goes out to you both.
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Does your mom take her medications to keep her schizophrenia managed? Many times they do not.
Mental illness is an awful condition, schizophrenia one of the worst.

I have a family member who has schizophrenia and refuses to take any meds and will not see a doctor. I can't even reason with this person as he has been isolated so much b/o his disease that he only believes his truths are the only way of looking at life. There is no reasoning with him.
As I say "it's his world and we just live in it". 
True that. I can talk until I am turning blue in the face, but nothing matters. He politely acknowledges what I saw but never makes any changes. 

I wish you luck on this journey. I have thought about getting guardianship but don't have the resources, thus am resolved to be ready to pick up the pieces and take care of him when a catastrophe occurs. He is not unstable and can manage his finances and lives alone fine. But listening to me preach preventative medicine goes on one ear and out the other. So, I will do what I have to when he mucks up, and he will. High blood pressure, swelling in both legs, not following any diet that makes sense.

Again I have no answers for you but can empathize with what you are going through & wish you the best. 
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